Power trip

Scout and I have been visiting a new favourite place the past week or more. We’ve been there a few times over the last four or five years, but it had fallen off our radar, for no particular reason, until recently.

It’s cool here

How to find this place? Well, wander down a rainforest road, and depending on the weather, feel uncomfortably warm in the sun (rare, but it happened last week), or turn up your collar to keep the rain from dripping in, or slip and slide on ice patches. Keep going. There are little detours along the way if Scout is your guide. She insists we explore each of the last pockets of snow, and we do have to stop at various tree stumps and earth patches, sniff with intent and leave our (her) scent. Eventually, by crossing over the road at the end of the drive, and taking the trailhead, you emerge out of the forest fringe and on to black rocks overlooking the ocean.

Keep going, past these trees…

The stormier photographs included this week are from a visit we (I) hadn’t intended to make. It was blustery, with the icy rain more like pellets, stinging my delicate skin and having me thinking of taking a short cut home. Scout, however, was having none of it, and pulled me along, the sound of the roaring ocean through the trees appearing to get her attention even over the sound of the wind and rain and my gentle sobbing. We both knew she was in charge of this trip.

Chilly

It was worth it! The waves were racing in, gathering themselves up in shades of green and grey before smashing onto the rocks. Our little viewing perch nestled in the higher black rocks was blasted by icy squalls, but we were safely above the pounding, yet close enough to feel the power. What a rush – a power trip! Thanks, Scout!

What a rush

Let’s keep it short this week – wouldn’t want all this going to Scout’s head. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

“A power trip? Me?”

Happy New Year!

Another short post this week, as we’ve been busy in the best possible way.

Sun and rain

We’ve enjoyed some quiet time, with sun, rain and a sprinkling of snow. Best of all, Junior was able to join us for a few days, and it made up for only seeing her a few hours the past couple of years.

Faint rainbow, no unicorn…

We drank coffee, beer, more coffee and more beer, as well as wandering the local trails and drinking in the almost sunny sights.

A magical ice tree

It’s been a challenging couple of years for most of us on many fronts, and I’ll end this brief post by expressing the fervent hope that the coming year will be better and brighter than the past twelve months.

Boats in the snow

Thanks for reading, take care out there, and Happy New Year to you!

Happy New Year!

“You busy?”

A very short piece this week – I’ve been busy…

I was sat in my office yesterday morning, toiling away on reports no one was likely to read, and wondering where had it all gone so right for me to be indoors on an unexpectedly sunny day? The drive to work had been about perfect, with the sun breaking through light mists, illuminating the low mountain tops and giving the bay a silver-pink- blue glow. Even the usually tetchy kingfishers appeared happy, and ducks were splashing prettily in the shallows outside the door. Yes, poor me. Still, lucky ducks, hey?

Yesterday morning – too nice to be inside

As I began a scintillating paragraph to get page 578 rolling, my phone rang. Oh no! An interruption, and just when I was getting to the interesting bit. “Hey old man you busy?” “Yeah, got to finish these papers today, can’t miss a deadline, you know how it is!” “Oh, ok. We’re in R’s truck, a few of us are heading up Mt. Ozzard to check on the new mountain bike trails, and thought you’d like to see what the young ones have created. But if you’re busy…”

Ozzard on the right (picture taken Wednesday evening)

Fifteen minutes later, I was in the back of a pickup, bouncing along logging roads to the foot of Ozzard. What can I say, I’m dedicated. To getting out and seeing what our youthful charges have been up to. I was almost finished anyway…

Ride a bike down here? No thanks!

As we climbed the trail, slipping and sliding on a mix of mud and snow – yup, the snow had stuck under the trees and in the shade – I delighted in having the freedom to be able to slip away from the office, walk up a mountain, and call it work. Like I said at the top, where did it all go so right?

Hard at work…

Anyway, a short post as promised. Did I finish those reports? Do you really need to ask? Of course – hold on, let me finish – of course I can get them done by Monday. I’m not specifying any particular Monday…

Thursday morning. Easily distracted (silver-pink-blue? I think so…)

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday afternoon – sun setting on what turned out a pretty good day

Seasonal norms?

We’ve had below seasonal temperatures for weeks and weeks, and above seasonal rainfall throughout the same period. Maybe when fall/winter is done and dusted, it’ll all average out and all be recorded as seasonal norms. In the meantime…

Chilly

…it’s chilly! We went to Florencia Bay on Saturday, enjoying a favourite beach late afternoon on a falling tide. There were a few cars in the parking lot, and down on the beach there were a few hardy surfers braving the water. Cold, cold water. No thanks! The air temperature was a few degrees above freezing, just warm enough to sit on a log – with jackets – and enjoy a rare sighting of the sun.

Not so chilly

Scout was delighted to be able to dig and dig, purposeful in the moment, fully attentive to the task, and then happy enough to abandon the excavations if there was an off chance of a crumb or two from one of us enjoying our coffee and cookies. Off chance of a crumb? No chance, but we always bring a milk bone or two. Scout also likes them.

Saturday was our sunny day, and Sunday was meant to be a snowy day, or snowy overnight into Monday morning at any rate. There were some disappointed students when the promised snow didn’t materialize. More rain though! We braved the elements and enjoyed the dry hour or two early afternoon along the coastal trails before the next band of cold rain appeared.

I’m predicting more rain!

We consoled ourselves about no show snow with a bottle of Spinnakers Flanders Style Red Ale – it was a little too close to a sour to be a sure fire winner, but we did finish it to be certain our conclusions were sound.

Spinnakers slightly sour seasonal offering – now it’s open, we might as well finish it…

We might not be enjoying seasonal norms, but we’re enjoying where we are, and making the most of the season, whatever it looks like! Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Cool beauty?

Short, sharp, shocked

After almost a week of high winds and heavy rain, for contrast I thought I’d post bright photos of a recent weekend of sunshine, try to get away from the current floods and gloom.

I have to say we’re thinking of our PNW friends and neighbours struggling with washed out roads, broken supply chains, no utilities and flooded homes. A summer of drought followed by an autumn of floods, what a recipe for disaster.

Sharp

Our own little corner of the PNW hasn’t been hit as hard as other places, and as somewhere relatively remote, where the weather can knock out the power or wash out roads from time to time, the supply chain issues and travel difficulties are more or less part and parcel of normal fall/winter life. The scale of what’s unfolding on the mainland though? Goodness, it’s a loud warning that climate change is happening now – might be humans are leaving it very late to listen?

Still

The photos this week were taken at the end of October. We had a weekend of chilly starts and bright sunshine. Scout had forgotten what relative cold felt like – we all had – and it was funny to watch her tail wagging overtime as she high stepped along frosty paths and frozen docks. The sky was blue, the air was sharp, and the water was still – quite a contrast with what has followed since. When we went to Wick Beach, it was great to be able to sit in a sheltered spot, shirtsleeve comfortable and imagine it was almost summer!

Almost summer!

We wish all the best and a safe and speedy recovery to everyone impacted by the recent weather. All this, and it isn’t even December yet? Might be time to hold on to your hats and find those wellington boots…

So very calm

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

PS I borrowed the post title from a favourite album – anyone else a fan?

A descent

We have been past the turning to Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park countless times in the last ten years. Little? Nah, not stopping for anything little, not when we’re surrounded by big western Canada. Well, weren’t we shown to be a little(?!) silly…

Before the drop

We had to be in Qualicum Beach for an afternoon appointment, and the combination of never wanting to be late and having to get through before the daily construction closures (completion Summer 2020, budget $30 million) around Kennedy Lake, meant we had time on our hands. Alright then, let’s check out the Little Qualicum Falls.

Fall at the falls

We parked in an almost empty lot and headed up the trail marked Upper Falls. I do like to let gravity do the work later in a hike whenever possible. The trail was muddy but not impassable after a week of heavy rain, and we could hear a distant roar of cascading water up ahead. Promising!

Promising

The falls were spectacular! Huge volumes of water crashing down narrow chutes, throwing up mist and spray glinting in the late morning sun. What a sight and what a sound, and not little at all! Cascades of water, churning and tumbling and completely exhilarating!

Delighted we saw the falls, our descent after was decent, as we smiled all the way down, wondering why we hadn’t stopped there sooner?!

Noisy!

When we got home, having been held up by construction closures (new completion date late Fall 2022, new budget $58 million) we decided we must try a bit harder to explore the little delights closer to home, and not to pass turnings signposted to “Little” anything unless we promise to visit inside ten years…

Exhilarating!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Before the storm

We have weather warnings as I write this, with heavy rain and wind speeds of 80 gusting to 100kmh predicted. That means trees will fall, and the power will likely go out. Hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst, I thought I’d better write and schedule a post before losing power, and place candles, flashlights and my favourite power outage toque in accessible locations. Oh, forgetful me, and chocolate.

A little beach

For this quick before the storm post, I decided to use a few photos taken over the last long weekend, when we went down to our not-really-a-secret-but-let’s-hope-no-one-else-is-there little beach just off the Wild Pacific trail. As in a previous post, this isn’t the real name, but I’m quite getting into making up names for places.

Slow down, Scout!

When we arrived, after a little clamber down from the trail made more exciting by Scout’s absolute determination to haul me over rocks and under logs, we found the beach was empty as hoped for. Not the warmest of days overall, but we sat out of the gusting wind and enjoyed the wave action. Not storm waves, but still pretty powerful at beach level.

Wave action

If conditions allow, and it’s safe, I’ll head back to this little beach, or at least the trail above it, after the worst of the wind gusts, and see if I can catch a shot or two of big waves. I’ll wear my favourite after the storm toque, and take coffee – and chocolate.

Not stormy, still powerful

Right, enough for now, time to put on that toque, have matches at the ready, and enjoy the show. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

“Slow down? Ok!”
Blue skies

Green Creek Restoration

A brief post this week, harking back to early fall and warmer weather experienced only a few short weeks ago. Goodness, this west coast autumn has been chillier than the norm for us here. Wet too, but that is most welcome after such a dry summer.

Mixed greens

Right, let’s visit Green Creek (I made that up, it isn’t called Green Creek, other than in my head!) We mostly explored close to the cabin on Salt Spring a few weeks back, and were very happy to have a trailhead a few short steps from the cabin door.

Very early fall

The trail crisscrossed open meadows, and also looped through a forested area, at points hugging the bank of a small creek. A couple of information boards explained how local schoolchildren had teamed up with a stream conservation/restoration group, and worked to restore the creek to be a place where salmon could run successfully.

Green Creek

We didn’t see any salmon, but did see leafy trees, tiny tumbling water falls, and ancient Douglas firs. We enjoyed meandering along the stream side listening to croaking frogs and failing to identify all the little brown birds flitting from tree to tree. We stopped at an open spot as the sun broke through, lighting up the clearing, and it was a very pleasant place to be, with no real hurry, and nothing more to do than simply soak up the green. Very restorative!

Bright and leafy

Short and sweet, like the trail and creek we were on – thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Restorative!

Mystery Island

We’re not quite home and fully connected yet, but here’s an indication of where we were last week (and how we kept busy!)

A short break

I’ll post a slightly longer piece (that shouldn’t be difficult) next week, unpack our trip, after unpacking from our trip.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

A view from Salt Spring

Warm and fuzzy

Am I, though?

I do try to be, but as I’m not a morning person, it’s a challenge. I’m not an afternoon, evening or night person either. Might as well throw in I’m not always a people person – odd, for an educator? – and warm and fuzzy isn’t too accurate.

Warm and fuzzy? Check!

However, it isn’t always all about me – stamps foot, throws tantrum – I was referring to the weather earlier this week when we went down to the beach, and the fact that I should have cleaned the lens before taking any photographs. It was misty, but not that misty…

Not that misty…

September already? Time has done what time does, stretching and shrinking, making me look back and think, gee, summer was really long this year, or, goodness, summer simply raced by! Either way, it is almost over, and we’re definitely leaning into a fall feel, with chilly and foggy mornings giving way to pleasantly warm but not hot afternoons.

Pleasantly warm

On our beach evening, September 1st, we set off in sunshine, but by the time we arrived the fog had rolled onto the shore, and we wondered if we’d mistimed our visit, at least for sitting in some warmish sun? No no, not to worry, less than ten minutes passed, the fog drifted off and the sun reappeared. Hello fall. Goodbye summer. Hello fall. Oh, hello summer again, wait your turn, fall. Hmm. Was I really sitting on a log talking to the seasons? Warm and fuzzy? Or somewhat strange? Looks like I’m a season person.

Make your mind up…

Right, I’m off to clean the lens and talk to some clouds. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful (long) weekend!